Donations from the public will support a $1.5 million fundraising goal,
make safe travel more accessible for newcomers
Washington DC – April 2023. Welcome.US, American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), and Miles4Migrants have launched Welcome Connect Travel, a new program that makes flights more accessible to those seeking refuge in the United States. Those forced to flee often leave behind all but what they can carry, and the costs of international travel can be prohibitive. Welcome Connect Travel removes the cost of travel as a barrier for both sponsors in the United States and the displaced families they are supporting through humanitarian sponsorship.
Beginning today, Welcome Connect Travel is launching a campaign to raise $1.5 million, which will fund the flights for newcomers to travel to the United States. New humanitarian sponsorship programs from the U.S. government allow individuals who have been forced to flee Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Venezuela find safety in the United States with the help of an American sponsor.
Welcome.US launched Welcome Connect last year, a first-of-its-kind online platform, to help match displaced people seeking refuge in the United States with Americans interested in sponsoring them. Many are now finding a path to refuge with the help of an American sponsor, but finding a sponsor is only the first step of their journey to safety.
“We know that the cost of traveling to safety can pose a financial burden for newcomers and the sponsors who will support them as they rebuild their lives in a new community, and we don’t want that cost to stand in the way of people finding a path to safety. We are so excited to collaborate with Amex GBT and Miles4Migrants to launch Welcome Connect Travel to help make transportation easier and more equitable. With the ingenuity of Amex GBT and Miles4Migrants, Americans everywhere can now directly support newcomers and their sponsors in meeting this important need. It’s another way to show that when we band together, we can exponentially increase our capacity to welcome,” said Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash.
As donations are raised, Welcome.US and Miles4Migrants will work with sponsors to book a flight on behalf of the individual newcomer or family they are welcoming, ensuring that cost and logistics are not a barrier to safe travel. Amex GBT will book flights for sponsors using Welcome Connect.
Paul Abbott, CEO, Amex GBT, said: “Travel is a force for good – this belief drives our purpose as a company. Travel powers progress. It is the engine room of the global economy, driving trade and growth. It connects people and communities, helping to bring down barriers and create new opportunities. We are committed to backing our beliefs with actions. By working with Welcome.US, we can deploy our experience and technology to help vulnerable people travel to safety.”
With the average cost of a single flight at $1,600, public donations will help provide a lifeline to newcomers, giving them the opportunity to safely travel to their new communities. Miles4Migrants and other partner organizations including Welcome.US will spearhead the public fundraising campaign to purchase flights.
“Every individual has the human right to seek refuge and live in a safe place. Beyond the violence, persecution, and threats in their own countries, they still face all the transportation burdens, which makes their journey even more arduous. We are honored to partner with Welcome.US and Amex GBT, utilizing our expertise in flight booking and connections with airline companies to help individuals in need move towards safety with dignity and hope,” said Glaydon de Freitas Filho, executive director, Miles4Migrants.
This is the second partnership between Miles4Migrants and Welcome.US. Together the two organizations received donations of over 500 million airline miles and $2 million in the fall of 2021, making it possible for over 18,000 Afghan newcomers to reach their new homes in the United States.
About American Express Global Business Travel
American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) is the world’s leading B2B travel platform, providing software and services to manage travel, expenses, and meetings and events for companies of all sizes. We have built the most valuable marketplace in B2B travel to deliver unrivalled choice, value and experiences. With travel professionals in more than 140 countries, our customers and travelers enjoy the powerful backing of American Express Global Business Travel.
At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming — and telling their stories — we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, diaspora organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is a single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States. To learn more about Welcome.US, please visit welcome.us
Miles4Migrants (M4M) upholds human rights by removing transportation barriers that impact the most vulnerable forced migrants, victims of war, persecution, torture, or climate disaster. M4M raises miles, credit card points, and cash while convening global partners and airlines, and relies on a team of flight experts to book tickets with the best possible cost-benefit to donors. Since 2016, Miles4Migrants has flown more than 40,000 passengers from 90 countries to safety, redeeming almost 600 million miles, representing more than 11 million dollars in tickets. For more information, visit miles4migrants.org and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.